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Emerging Long-Range WAN Networks Vulnerable to Hacking, Compromise
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pvaneijk
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pvaneijk,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2020 | 4:07:43 PM
Inaccuracies
Jai,

 

I think you either need to turn in your engineering degree for a refund or stick to writing obituaties and the weather report. I have never read so many falsehoods and generalizations in the same article about LoRaWAN. Did Verizon or ATT fund your article ? Before you start spreading falsehoods maybe read the LoRaWAN specification front to cover. Then read it again. And again. And then compare the latest version to the first version. Yes, the first version left some openings for various attacks, but they all have been fixed. And nobody builds devices to the first version of the spec anymore. 

In your article you fail to even name the encryption that is used: "The encryption that is used to ensure the authenticity of devices on the network and to protect the confidentiality and integrity of communications between the device and application server can be relatively easily cracked, according to Cerrudo" LoRaWAN uses 128-bit AES encryption for both the Network Session and the Application (user data) Sessions. Stating that this type of encryption can be relatively easily cracked is a joke!

So even if you got you hands on a set of keys, from for example a device that is cofigured as APB (Activation by Personalization) instead of the much more secure methode of OTAA one can inflict no damage on a Network from a single end device. LoRaWAN IoT devices do not have a MB/s TCP/IP pipleline to the cloud. You can't flood the Network server with 100,000s of message from an IoT device. You can send at most between 11 and 242 bytes...every FEW SECONDS. You have to understand that an LPWAN IoT network is not based on TCP/IP.

I can go on for a while but this article is so poorly written that it is not worth my time. Bone up on LoRaWAN and come back with some real substance!

 
techilife99
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techilife99,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2020 | 3:16:40 AM
Re: Older devices
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wte
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wte,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2020 | 2:45:37 PM
Re: Older devices
Many LoRaWAN devices rely on a separate chip/chipset that handles the LoRaWAN communications at the MAC and physical layers, and the MCU controlling the actual device may not be able to update the firmware inside the LoRa chip (separate from the MCU's own firmware). And, of course, many IoT devices were never made to handle updates of the device's main firmware itself, but this is changing as we collectively focus more on security. Newer parts of the LoRaWAN spec are providing mechanisms for firmware update over LoRa. This was demoed at the LoRa Alliance conference over 2 years ago. So while it's true that older devices won't be able to support newer aspects of the protocol, this is hardly a new scenario in technology in general. How many of us have a 10-year-old cell phone that can still communicate on today's cell networks?
wte
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50%
wte,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2020 | 2:52:21 PM
Re: Sensors
When it's done in hardware, it doesn't take much power to do the encryption required for LoRaWAN. Many devices commercially available will run for 2-5 years or more on a pair of off-the-shelf alkaline C cells, or even 5-10 years on a 3.6V AA-size lithium battery. The key factors are limiting the frequency and duration of transmissions, and conserving power when the device is idle. Since NOT encrypting isn't an option for LoRaWAN, they've made it feasible even for low-power, limited-memory devices.
wte
50%
50%
wte,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2020 | 3:07:17 PM
Re: Encryption
The encryption is two layers of 128-bit AES. Not really outdated. I assume you mean "keys" rather than "Keats" ?

I was a bit surprised after reading through the entire article that most of the vulnerabilities are not unique to LoRaWAN. For example:
  • Physical security and reverse engineering of a device. First, it's nothing new, and it's already being handled in newer devices using "secure elements" to protect the keys, preventing them from being retrieved even through a physical attack.
  • Fixed keys being stolen. LoRaWAN provides two ways of joining a network: essentially pre-shared keys, and keys that are renegotiated upon joining (OTAA: over-the-air authentication). The first method is never recommended for any production devices. Anyone releasing such a device simply hasn't read the specs, or anything else regarding LoRaWAN joins. 
  • Default passwords unchanged, etc. Again, nothing unique to LoRaWAN. Most of this type of issue is at the network or system level, regardless of wireless protocol

I'm glad they acknowledge that the v1.1 LoRaWAN spec addresses most of these issues. I was teaching on most of these vulnerabilities as early as 2Q 2018, and v1.1 was released later that year. Yes, it does take time for the changes to progagate into working systems, but that's the nature of rapidly-changing technology, and v1.1 has some pretty dramatic changes/improvements from the prior version.


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